Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock all day, you’ve no doubt heard about Virgin Mobile’s earth-shattering yet not entirely unexpected plan to finally bring the iPhone to the U.S. (it’s been in other markets for quite some time now). It will be sold at Virgin Mobile’s site, Radio Shack, Best Buy and “select local retailers” as stated in the official press release.
This comes on the heels of Cricket’s announcement just about a week ago:
Looks familiar, no?
Let me give you the good news first. Virgin Mobile’s pricing structure remains intact but if you enroll in Auto-Pay, you get a $5 discount on your monthly bill:
So what could possibly be the bad news? Virgin Mobile will start selling the phones on June 29 at the following unsubsidized prices:
- iPhone 4 8GB: $549
- iPhone 4S 16GB: $649
Those prices are $150 more than Cricket’s but Virgin Mobile’s pricing structure has them beat by a little bit in that Cricket only offers a $55 unlimited everything for their iPhone. Of course, “unlimited” data comes that proviso that you will be throttled at 2.5GB of 3G data usage for Virgin Mobile and 2.3GB for Cricket. Still, an iPhone for a little as $30/mo. with 300 minutes and unlimited messaging and web sounds like a good deal. Customers under contract might be paying $30 for data alone.
In the end, is it all worth it? There’s been a lot of buzz about this since Cricket announced their iPhone. Thankfully, the math – never my strong suit – has been done for me via Cult of Mac. They were kind enough to crunch the numbers and come up with this chart of pricing across all iPhone carriers (click to see full article):
It’s pretty clear that Virgin Mobile has them all beat if you are willing to go with less minutes – does anybody still call anyone anymore? – than Sprint and Cricket per month.
And while it really is a phenomenal deal on the surface, coming up with that initial $549 or $649 that might just be a problem for some customers, myself included. It’s one of those things that, if I decided to go that route, I would have to wait for until next tax time when I usually have some extra jingle in my pocket.
Besides, I’m eyeing the Optimus Elite. It’ll bump my monthly plan to $35 (currently $25) but it seems to be all the phone I need at the moment and not only that, I want to upgrade from my Optimus V. It’s still a good phone but I think it’s time to move up to something better and I don’t feel like switching over to T-Mobile nor do I have $600 lying around the house.
Only time will tell if Cricket and Virgin Mobile take a bite out of the other carriers who offer the iPhone under contract and subsidized but after taking all of this in, what do you think? Will you go for it or take a pass on it?